Synthetic biology allows and promotes the production or alteration of biological organisms, often for beneficial purposes like reducing diseases and improving agricultural output. While well-intentioned, this innovative field also presents potential risks that could leave many populations vulnerable and threaten livelihoods. Our reports examine the opportunities and concerns surrounding synthetic biology, and offer recommendations to guide this discussion and address these challenges.
Biodefense in the Age of Synthetic Biology
Scientific advances over the past several decades have accelerated the ability to engineer existing organisms and to potentially create novel ones not found in nature. Synthetic biology, which collectively refers to concepts, approaches, and …
Preparing for Future Products of Biotechnology
Between 1973 and 2016, the ways to manipulate DNA to endow new characteristics in an organism (that is, biotechnology) have advanced, enabling the development of products that were not previously possible. What will the likely future products of …
Released on Tuesday, Sexual Harassment of Women focuses on one of many roadblocks to the recruitment, retention, and promotion of women in academia. The reports listed below explore these issues and offer recommendations to better support women in these roles.
Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
Over the last few decades, research, activity, and funding has been devoted to improving the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women in the fields of science, engineering, and medicine. In recent years the diversity of those participating in these fields, particularly the participation …
Career Choices of Female Engineers: A Summary of a Workshop
Despite decades of government, university, and employer efforts to close the gender gap in engineering, women make up only 11 percent of practicing engineers in the United States. What factors influence women graduates’ decisions to enter the engineering workforce and either to stay in or leave …
Climate change continues to pose significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems. The current warming trend is growing at an unprecedented rate – this year the U.S. saw its warmest May on record. Our collection of reports emphasize the importance of 21st century choices regarding long-term climate stabilization through improving understanding of the causes and consequences of climate change and expanding the options available to limit the magnitude of climate change.
Climate Change: Evidence and Causes
Climate Change: Evidence and Causes is a jointly produced publication of The US National Academy of Sciences and The Royal Society. Written by a UK-US team of leading climate scientists and reviewed by climate scientists and others, the publication is intended as a brief, readable …
Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises
Climate is changing, forced out of the range of the past million years by levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases not seen in the Earth’s atmosphere for a very, very long time. Lacking action by the world’s nations, it is clear that the planet will be warmer, sea level will rise, and …
Arctic Matters: The Global Connection to Changes in the Arctic
Viewed in satellite images as a jagged white coat draped over the top of the globe, the high Arctic appears distant and isolated. But even if you don’t live there, don’t do business there, and will never travel there, you are closer to the Arctic than you think. Arctic Matters: The Global …
Enhancing Participation in the U.S. Global Change Research Program
The US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) is a collection of 13 Federal entities charged by law to assist the United States and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change. As the understanding of global change has evolved …
The Arctic in the Anthropocene: Emerging Research Questions
Once ice-bound, difficult to access, and largely ignored by the rest of the world, the Arctic is now front and center in the midst of many important questions facing the world today. Our daily weather, what we eat, and coastal flooding are all interconnected with the future of the Arctic. The …
America’s Climate Choices
Climate change is occurring. It is very likely caused by the emission of greenhouse gases from human activities, and poses significant risks for a range of human and natural systems. And these emissions continue to increase, which will result in further change and greater …
Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) determines our ability to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. Recognizing the essential role this process plays in a child’s development, a growing number of schools and districts are incorporating SEL into their strategic plans and curricula. Our reports serve as resources to guide this implementation and discuss the science behind SEL.
Early Childhood Assessment: Why, What, and How
The assessment of young children’s development and learning has recently taken on new importance. Private and government organizations are developing programs to enhance the school readiness of all young children, especially children from …
Building Capacity to Reduce Bullying: Workshop Summary
Bullying – long tolerated as just a part of growing up – finally has been recognized as a substantial and preventable health problem. Bullying is associated with anxiety, depression, poor school performance, and future delinquent behavior among …
Cities have experienced an unprecedented rate of growth in the last decade, and this continued growth highlights the importance of a sustainable future. More than half the world’s population lives in urban areas, with the U.S. percentage at 80 percent. Cities have captured more than 80 percent of the globe’s economic activity and offered social mobility and economic prosperity to millions by clustering creative, innovative, and educated individuals and organizations. Clustering populations, however, can compound both positive and negative conditions, with many modern urban areas experiencing growing inequality, debility, and environmental degradation. Our reports recommend strategies and pathways that will aid in the ongoing development of urban planning.
Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity
In the United States, some populations suffer from far greater disparities in health than others. Those disparities are caused not only by fundamental differences in health status across segments of the population, but also because of inequities …
Transportation Systems for Livable Communities
TRB’s Conference Proceedings on the Web 6: Transportation Systems for Livable Communities summarizes the results of an October 2010 conference that explored the challenges of incorporating livability into transportation programs and …
The International Day of Light recognizes the anniversary of the first successful operation of the laser in 1960 by physicist and engineer, Theodore Maiman. We acknowledge this day in history in an effort to improve the public understanding of how light and light-based technologies touch our daily lives beyond scientific applications, including aspects of art, culture, entertainment. Our publications explore these technologies and highlight their importance to the future development of our global society.
Optics and Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation
Optics and photonics technologies are ubiquitous: they are responsible for the displays on smart phones and computing devices, optical fiber that carries the information in the internet, advanced precision manufacturing, enhanced defense capabilities, and a plethora of medical diagnostics tools. …
Assessment of Solid-State Lighting, Phase Two
The standard incandescent light bulb, which still works mainly as Thomas Edison invented it, converts more than 90% of the consumed electricity into heat. Given the availability of newer lighting technologies that convert a greater percentage of electricity into useful light, there is potential …
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! We know that with long hours and dedication, teachers and administrators are taking on the challenge of implementing new science standards. We’re here to help! Our resources communicate the framework and standards for NGSS, provide guidance on assessment, and support professional development. As a token of appreciation for all that you do, use code NGSS18 for a 25% discount off the list price for all our titles, now through June 30th.
It’s never too early to prepare for a hurricane. In advance of National Hurricane Preparedness Week, which begins on May 6, we wanted to share our resources that support hurricane preparedness and resilience. Explore the full emergency preparedness/disaster management collection here.
Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative
No person or place is immune from disasters or disaster-related losses. Infectious disease outbreaks, acts of terrorism, social unrest, or financial disasters in addition to natural hazards can all lead to large-scale consequences for the nation and its communities. Communities and the nation …
Reducing Coastal Risk on the East and Gulf Coasts
Hurricane- and coastal-storm-related losses have increased substantially during the past century, largely due to increases in population and development in the most susceptible coastal areas. Climate change poses additional threats to coastal communities from sea level rise and possible …
Microorganisms are continually with and around us. They reside outdoors in soil and water and coexist indoors where people live and work. They are found in and on pets, plants, and rodents; in water; in dirt tracked indoors on shoes; and in the air that enters buildings. Microorganisms also live on human skin and in systems such as the digestive tract.
Recent studies have taken advantage of the development of novel tools to quantify and sequence the DNA of communities of microbes and study their functions, revealing their abundance and complexity but leaving still more questions than answers about what these communities are doing and what functions they serve in humans, animals, and our environments. These publications examine the current body of knowledge surrounding microbiomes and make recommendations for future research.
The Chemistry of Microbiomes: Proceedings of a Seminar Series
The 21st century has witnessed a complete revolution in the understanding and description of bacteria in eco- systems and microbial assemblages, and how they are regulated by complex interactions among microbes, hosts, and environments. The human organism is no longer considered a monolithic …
The Human Microbiome, Diet, and Health: Workshop Summary
The Food Forum convened a public workshop on February 22-23, 2012, to explore current and emerging knowledge of the human microbiome, its role in human health, its interaction with the diet, and the translation of new research findings into tools and products that improve the nutritional …
The Science and Applications of Microbial Genomics: Workshop Summary
Over the past several decades, new scientific tools and approaches for detecting microbial species have dramatically enhanced our appreciation of the diversity and abundance of the microbiota and its dynamic interactions with the environments within which these microorganisms reside. The first …
The Social Biology of Microbial Communities: Workshop Summary
Beginning with the germ theory of disease in the 19th century and extending through most of the 20th century, microbes were believed to live their lives as solitary, unicellular, disease-causing organisms . This perception stemmed from the focus of most investigators on organisms that could be …
This year marks the 10th anniversary of our influential book, Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce. It called for bold initiatives to train all health care providers in the basics of geriatric care and to prepare family members and other informal caregivers, who might receive little or no training in how to tend to their aging loved ones. Retooling for an Aging America and our other publications remain essential resources for the care of our aging population.
Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce
As the first of the nation’s 78 million baby boomers begin reaching age 65 in 2011, they will face a health care workforce that is too small and woefully unprepared to meet their specific health needs.
Retooling for an Aging America calls for bold initiatives starting immediately to train …
Families Caring for an Aging America
Family caregiving affects millions of Americans every day, in all walks of life. At least 17.7 million individuals in the United States are caregivers of an older adult with a health or functional limitation. The nation’s family caregivers provide the lion’s share of long-term care for our …
New Directions in the Sociology of Aging
The aging of the population of the United States is occurring at a time of major economic and social changes. These economic changes include consideration of increases in the age of eligibility for Social Security and Medicare and possible changes in benefit levels. Furthermore, changes in the …
The Future of Home Health Care: Workshop Summary
Individuals with disabilities, chronic conditions, and functional impairments need a range of services and supports to keep living independently. However, there often is not a strong link between medical care provided in the home and the necessary social services and supports for independent …
Health Care Comes Home: The Human Factors
In the United States, health care devices, technologies, and practices are rapidly moving into the home. The factors driving this migration include the costs of health care, the growing numbers of older adults, the increasing prevalence of chronic conditions and diseases and improved survival …
Elder Abuse and Its Prevention: Workshop Summary
Elder Abuse and Its Prevention is the summary of a workshop convened in April 2013 by the Institute of Medicine’s Forum on Global Violence Prevention. Using an ecological framework, this workshop explored the burden of elder abuse around the world, focusing on its impacts on individuals, …